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The Open Group now says it will deliver a first cut of its ActiveX-on-Unix specification for review sometime early next year, plus a source code reference implementation. In addition to source code, Open Group is expected to provide validation, testing and branding services. Not a peep has been heard from the Open Group on the matter since it created one of its Pre- Structured Technology groups last year to do the porting work using core ActiveX services supplied to it by Microsoft Corp last year. After review, the specification will go forward for adoption as an Open Group standard, ultimately providing Microsoft with a path toward some kind of de jure standardization through ISO, though Redmond maintains that has never been a specific goal. The ActiveX Core Technologies/DCE Interoperability PST, shortened to ACD, was voted into life after Microsoft pulled off a major publicity coup towards the end of last year by putting ActiveX in the hands of a multi-vendor Active Group controlled by it, but supposedly intended to enable other parts of the industry to influence the future shape of ActiveX specifications (CI No 3,010). Those worthy goals are all out of the window now that the fuss has died down of course. Microsoft admits Active Group is purely a vehicle to make COM/DCOM [ActiveX] available on all commercial computing platforms. The Open Group is using the Microsoft RPC remote procedure call in ActiveX instead of the Distributed Computing Environment RPC which informs Microsoft’s variant, and is also integrating DCE Security with the Microsoft object software. The Open Group says the ACD PST will lead to interoperable ActiveX ports on a variety of Unixes plus other, unspecified operating systems. ACD sponsors include DEC, Hewlett-Packard Co and Siemens Nixdorf Information Systems. Other participants include Microsoft. Software AG dropped out six months ago claiming The Open Group work was moving too slowly for it – see separate story this section. Software AG already is already shipping DCOM-on-Unix product. The Open Group says its source code development has no relation to Software AG’s work.

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